Part Three: Now we are
Words and photos by Jok Nicholson
The work is starting get a lot more fun now.
Since I spent my "early years" doing bodywork
for a living, I thought I would start with the
body on the Vega. It was pretty solid but needed
some finishing touches. Anyone can do basic
body work which includes filling dents, cleaning
up some rusty spots and even bonding on a hood
scoop or, in my case on the Vega, bonding on
the enlarged wheel opening panels.
If you haven't done any body work before you
will probably spend about $100 for some basic
tools. It will be worth your money to get a
book on basic body repair and refinishing. HP
Books has a good one available through Summit
You will need the following to get going:
- Air or electric grinder that will accept
flexible grinding discs to grind paint off.
- Selection of 3M "Roloc" grinder discs to
grind paint off where filler goes.
- Body filler and hardener, also a "cheese
grater" to speed up finishing the body filler
work. If you have a friend in the body repair
business they will be a big help.
- Air or electric orbital sander to do finish
sanding with. Air tools are lighter and easier
to use but they take a pretty good compressor,
about 5 cfm at 50 lbs should be the minimum
you try to get by with. I have a 4.0 horsepower
110 V. 2 cylinder that works great.
I do want to update you on the BUDGET part
of the "Back-2-Basics" project. I have had quite
a few e-mails that either thought I could stay
under budget or that I would go over budget
by several thousand dollars. I think we will
squeeze in under the budget. Here is where we
stand so far.
Income: Items off the car I sold at swap meet
and to local racers: $935.00
- Aluminum seat: $79.00
- Window net: $22.00
- Solvent and cleaners to clean rear end housing:
- Send MSD in to have it checked out: $18.00
- Aluminum sheet for dash and interior repair:
- Rivets for aluminum work: $12.00
- BG fuel filter, stainless element: $15.00
(bought at swap meet, new cost $78.00)
- Moroso throttle limiter: $10.00 (swap meet,
used but okay, new price about $40.00
- Master disconnect switch: $10.00 (swap meet,
new piece worth about $30.00)
- Black Rustoleum paint for rollcage and rear
end parts, $14.00
- Front disc brake pads, turn rotors, hardware
kit, stock Vega brakes: $42.00
- New Master cylinder: $46.80
- New 5.13:1 Dana-60 Richmond Pro-Gears, (swap
meet $150.00) new $305.00
- Strange Engineering Dana installation kit
and axle bearings: $173.00
- Strange Engineering Pinion yoke and trans
yoke for 1350 U-joints. $96.00
- Two pieces of roll bar tubing for side bar
and rocker bar: $19.00
- Four 6" square pieces of .125 steel plate
for reinforcement panels: $6.00
So far we have spent $777.30. This means we
have a little more than $150.00 to spend before
we get into the budget. With the budget target
set for $12,500.00 I feel we will get the project
done on time and within budget.
I set up the Dana 60 the other day and it took
me a while. I spent about five hours to get everything
right. The biggest hassle was polishing the spool
where the bearings slide on so it was a "slip-fit."
That made changing the shims that control backlash
a lot easier since they are usually press-on bearings.
I do not have a press, so that would have been
a waste of time traveling back and forth to the
local shop that has a press. The Strange Engineering
installation kit came with all the correct bearings
and a large assortment of shims as well as new
ring gear bolts and new bolts for the rear cover.
shot shows the new wield on the driver's
side roll cage. This should provide
additional safety and help the chassis
do its job.